September 15, 2010
Director of Colorado’s Anti-Death Penalty Movement Speaks to Naropa
This month, The Sycamore had the opportunity to in-tThis month, The Sycamore had the opportunity to in-terview Lisa Cisneros, Executive Director of Coloradansfor Alternatives to the Death Penalty (CADP). CADP is
a non-prot organization that seeks to educate the pub
-lic about the death penalty as well as push for anti-deathpenalty legislation. This September and October, CADP has partnered
with the non-prot Witness to Innocence in order to
bring three exonerated death row inmates to Coloradofor a speaking tour. Randy Steidl, Derek Jameson, andShabaka WaQlimi will be speaking at churches, universi-ties, and community centers across the Denver Metro,Northern Colorado, and Boulder areas. We asked Lisa about the structure and history of CADP,its ongoing work, and the death penalty’s presence inColorado.
When and why did the organization start?
CADP started in 1997 after the execution of Gary Davis who was the only prisoner executed in Colorado in 40years. Father Jim Sunderland, an anti-death penalty activ-
ist started it because he realized that it needed to stop in
Colorado after that. It’s evolved since then but it startedout with about 30 people. Our number has grown toabout 5000 since then. Our members are criminal de-fense attorneys, clergy, and teachers. Now we’re work-ing to diversify and bring in some conservative membersand people of color. The biggest change that has happened is that we now have a coalition, which was created last August. Thename of it is CAEJ- Colorado Alliance for Effective Justice. The members of the coalition include CADP,public defenders, Catholic Churches, the ACLU, andColorado Cure, who helps inmates and their families. We’ve also recently added the Interfaith Alliance and the
NAACP, so it’s a big coalition of different organizations. The reason we did that is because we realized that we
needed a grassroots movement. Also, it makes a biggerpresence to the legislature.
What has CADP been working on recently?
Next week, on the 19th, Randy Steidl is coming to townand he will be speaking around the Metro area and inOctober, we’re having two other exonerees coming in:Shabaka WaQlimi and Derek Jameson.Shabaka WaQlimi spent 13 years on death row in Flori-da and was released about 20 years ago. Derek Jamesonspent 20 years on death row in Ohio and he came withinan hour of his execution. While he was in prison, helost his mother, father, and most of his family becausethey all died. Derek was released 5 years ago and he re-ally wants to get out there and start talking about the
death penalty. He realizes that some people need to be in
prison, but there’s no reason to kill them. What is your estimation of when Colorado will abolish
the death penalty?
I would hope next year. We put a bill together in 2009and it came within one vote of being passed so we know that the votes are on our side. We’re working hard to
keep these votes the same but you just don’t know what’s
going to happen until the day of the vote! But I wouldguess based on what I have seen that Colorado doesn’thave a taste for it.
How do you think the death penalty affects society?
When the death penalty reaches anybody it will affecttheir humanity. Prison guards house these guys for 20years and they become friends and then the guards have
to go kill them. I think that it affects jurors, who have
to make that decision—it affects their soul by the timethe trial and execution are over with. I know that it af-fects the defense attorneys. I think the prosecutors, the
judges… anybody that touches it- it does something tothem. I think that’s why it just needs to stop. There are
other ways for people to be punished and I don’t think that killing them is it. What would you like Coloradans and Naropa students
to know? Is there any message you would like to share?
We would like people in Colorado to understand thatthere really is a death penalty. I was recently at the Cincode Mayo festival running a table there and I heard mostof the people that I spoke to say, “We have a death pen-
alty in Colorado?” We need to educate the public, espe
-cially in Colorado where people don’t know that they have it.
I was in Crested Bute late week and Sister Helen Prejean
was there. She was giving her speech and she asked theaudience questions and they didn’t know that we havethree people currently on death row in Colorado. So
those are the kinds of things that need to be publicized.My message to Naropa students is that you are citizens
of the U.S and if you agree with us then you need tostep up, commit your voice, and say this must stop. Thepeople you say it to are your family, friends, your govern-
ment ofcials; let them know. Otherwise, it’s not going
to stop. Tour dates for the exoneree tour for the months of Sep-tember and October are as follows:
September 2010 Events with Randy Steidl
1. Sunday, September 19 - 11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon Glen-non Heights Mennonite Church, 11480 W. Virginia Ave.,Lakewood, CO 802262. Monday, September 20 - 7:00-9:00 p.m. Regis Univer-sity Chapel, 3333 Regis Blvd., Denver, CO 802213. Tuesday, September 21 - 7:00-9:00 p.m. Northeastern Junior College, 100 College Ave., Sterling, CO 800134. Wednesday, September 22 - 7:00 p.m. Colorado Cure,
400 Corona St. (ACLU ofce), Denver, CO 80218
5. Wednesday, September 22 - 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saint Mi-chael the Archangel Catholic Church, 19099 E. Floyd Ave., Aurora, CO 80013
October 2010 Events with Shabaka WaQlimi & Der-ek Jameson
1. Sunday, October 17 - 9:30-10:30 a.m. Parkview Con-gregational Church, 12444 E. Parkview Dr., Aurora, CO800112. Monday, October 18 - 12:00-1:30 p.m. Naropa Uni- versity, 2130 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, CO 803013. Monday, October 18 - 7:00-8:30 p.m. Nothern Colo-rado Cure, Address TBA, Fort Collins, CO4. Tuesday, October 19 - 7:00-8:30 p.m. Regis University Chapel, 3333 Regis Blvd., Denver, CO 802215. Thursday, October 21 - 7:00-9:00 p.m. Bookery Nook,4280 Tennyson St., Denver, CO 80212
Lisa Cisneros Courtesy of Ms. Cisneros